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Members Selected for 2016 Winter Okra Picks

North Carolina Writers’ Network members Taylor Brown and Lee Smith have books coming out this month, and they’ve been selected as 2016 Winter Okra Picks by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance.

Taylor Brown’s debut novel Fallen Land (St. Martin’s Press) is set in “the final year of the Civil War, as a young couple on horseback flees a dangerous band of marauders who seek a bounty reward.” North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Robert Morgan, author of many books including Gap Creek, called Fallen Land a “thrilling fugue, in both senses: of flight, and intricate composition. It is also the story of a revenge quest, the horrors of Sherman’s March, a noble horse named Reiver, of sacrifice, endurance, and redemption. No one who reads Fallen Land will ever forget it. In this first novel, Taylor Brown proves himself a fresh, authentic, and eloquent new voice in American fiction.”

Despite being a New York Times bestseller for fiction, and also an inductee of the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, Lee Smith’s Dimestore (Algonquin Books) is her first work of nonfiction. In it, she “deploys the wit, wisdom, and graceful prose for which she is beloved to conjure her early days in the small coal town of Grundy, Virginia—and beyond.” Anyone who heard her Keynote Address at the NCWN 2015 Fall Conference knows they’re in for a treat; Kirkus Reviews called it a “warm, poignant memoir from a reliably smooth voice.”

2016 Winter Okra Picks have a strong Southern focus and are published between January and March, 2016, and all of them have fans among Southern indie booksellers; people who are always looking out for the next great writer who should be on your plate and in your To Be Read stack. So it is very likely the next time you visit your local Southern indie bookstore, someone will hand you one and say, “You’ve got to read this!” Read them before they hit the bestseller lists and impress your friends with your impeccable taste and literary savvy!

For a complete list of 2016 Winter Okra Picks, click here.

Fall Conference In the News

As the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2015 Fall Conference registration approaches record-breaking numbers, we’ve been all over the news. Here’s what you may have missed:

Paul Foster’s interview with poet Tina Barr on WNCW 88.7 FM

Carol Anders interview with poet Keith Flynn on WNPV 103.7 FM “Asheville ‘N the Arts”

D.G. Martin’s interview with Keynote Speaker Lee Smith on WCHL 97.9 FM “Who’s Talking with D.G. Martin”

Joanne O’Sullivan’s Fall Conference feature in Asheville’s The Citizen-Times

Dannye Romine Powell’s write-up of Fall Conference in The Charlotte Observer

Barbara Hootman’s feature on poet Tina Barr in Black Mountain News

Cindy Schaeffer’s Fall Conference shout-out in Raleigh’s The News & Observer

The Laurel of Asheville featured Heather Newton

Alli Marshall’s Fall Conference plug in Mountain Xpress*

Nicki Volle’s Fall Conference feature on the Master’s Review blog

R.T. Smith’s Fall Conference write-up on the Shenandoah Literary Journal website

A Fall Conference feature on the Everyday Arts blog courtesy of the North Carolina Arts Council

Katie Winkler wrote a feature on Jeremy B. Jones for 85-26 in the Henderson Times-News

And we received kind mentions in newsletters from Fall Conference sponsors Al Manning and Alice Osborn and Write from the Inside Out; Fall Conference exhibitor the North Carolina Poetry Society; the Winston-Salem Writers; and more.

Plus, we’ve been all over social media: special thanks to Crazyhorse Literary Journal, New Southerner, The Massachusetts Review, Fall Conference exhibitor Bull City Press, and Murray State University’s MFA in Creative Writing Program.

Pre-registration for the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2015 Fall Conference closes Friday, November 13. Don’t delay: register now.

*Keep an eye out for a feature on creative nonfiction writer Christine Hale in Friday’s Mountain xPress!

It’s University Press Week

November 8-14 is University Press Week, a nationwide celebration of the “extraordinary work of non-profit scholarly publishers and their many contributions to culture, the academy, and an informed society.”

Founded in 1978 by president Jimmy Carter, University Press Week is organized by the Association of American University Presses (AAUP), an “organization of non-profit publishers whose members strive to advance scholarship through their offerings.”

The Regulator Bookshop in Durham has converted their storefront into a “pop-up” store offering a fascinating collection of titles from Duke University Press, the University of North Carolina Press, and Columbia, Harvard, NYU, Princeton, University of California, University of South Carolina, and the University of Georgia presses.

AAUP is offering two online events through Google Hangouts: “Opening Access: The Reinvention of the Academic Book” on Tuesday, November 10, at 3:00 pm, and “It’s Not Scary: The Art of Getting Published with a Scholarly Press” on Friday, November 13, at noon.

This week also features a blog tour where a theme is selected for each weekday, and presses sign up to post on the theme of their choice. Each day, blog posts on the chosen theme go up in the morning, and each blog points readers on to the other posts on that topic.

For more information about University Press Week, click here.

Meet Our Fall Conference Exhibitors: Part III

Over the past two weeks we’ve introduced many of the exhibitors who’ll be at the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2015 Fall Conference, November 20-22, in Asheville.

Here’s the third and final installment, in alphabetical order—the last, but certainly not the least, of those who’ll make the exhibit hall a truly happening place to be over the course of the weekend.

Established in 1992, Old Mountain Press (OMP) has helped hundreds of writers self-publish their work. They assist first-time authors as well as seasoned writers with several books to their credit. They have had authors as young as sixteen and as old as eighty-five. Their editors can help ready material for self-publishing or for submission to an agent, publishing house, or magazine. They edit everything from short stories and position papers to novels and doctoral dissertations. They do light or heavy editing. Please note that Old Mountain Press is not a vanity press. They specialize in low cost, short run (200 minimum), high quality perfect-bound book production.

Orison [“or-ə-sən”] is an archaic word that means “prayer.” At Orison Books, they believe that the best spiritual art and literature call us to meditate and contemplate, rather than asking us to adopt any ideology or set of propositions. The kind of work they seek to publish has a transcendent aesthetic effect on the reader, and reading it can itself be a spiritual experience. Orison Books seeks to be broad, inclusive, and open to perspectives spanning the spectrum of spiritual and religious thought, ethnicity, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Orison Books will serve as a home for writers and readers of all backgrounds, religious or non-religious. In addition to publishing exceptional spiritually engaged poetry, fiction, and nonfiction books, they publish The Orison Anthology, an annual collection of the best spiritual writing in all genres published in periodicals during the preceding year.

Alice Osborn, MA, is the author of four books of poetry: Heroes Without Capes (2015), After the Steaming Stops (2012), and Unfinished Projects (2010), all published by Main Street Rag, and Right Lane Ends (Catawba, 2006). She is also a freelance writer and teaching artist. Write from the Inside Out believes in the holistic approach to writing and publishing, and will walk writers through all editing steps and will conduct rewrites when necessary on top of copy editing and proofreading. Services include manuscript editing services, strategic book publishing, coaching for book and memoir writing, fiction editing and writing, and speaking appearances. Alice also leads writing workshops throughout the year, throughout the state. Write from the Inside Out can help writers achieve success and confidence with editing, writing workshops, and mentoring to help writers achieve their writing goals. Visit the website to sign up for her e-newsletter or register for an upcoming workshop. Alice Osborn and Write from the Inside Out is the 2015 sponsor of Saturday night’s Happy Hour.

P53 Bar Logo smPress 53 was founded in October 2005 by Kevin Morgan Watson and quickly began earning a reputation as a quality publishing house of short fiction and poetry collections. Located in Winston-Salem, they publish up to five short fiction collections each year, including the winner of our Press 53 Award for Short Fiction. They publish up to to eight poetry collections each year, including one collection by the winner of our Press 53 Award for Poetry. In July 2010, Press 53 launched Prime Number Magazine, a free online quarterly publication of distinctive poetry and prose. Their authors include former NC poet laureates Joseph Bathanti and Kathryn Stripling Byer and current NC poet laureate Shelby Stephenson; poets Joseph Mills and Valerie Nieman; and fiction writers Quinn Dalton and Marjorie Hudson. Their first Press 53 Classics edition was The Land Breakers, by John Ehle, which was published by Harper & Row in 1964. They’ve just re-released Lion on the Hearth, the sixth book in Ehle’s seven-book Appalachian series.

Propspective PressProspective Press is an avid independent publisher, connecting readers to great stories by great authors. They produce books in the traditional way, a commitment to quality and a keen interest for compelling content. However, they also keep an eye to the future, watching for ways to make the reading experiences even more enjoyable and satisfying. From the Piedmont region of North Carolina, they bring a world of quality genre fiction and select nonfiction. Their nonfiction imprint connects readers with a nascent collection of enjoyable and informative books on select topics involving the body, mind, and spirit. Fiction includes High Fantasy and Urban Fantasy; Young Adult and Mythological; Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction; Paranormal and PNR; Women’s Fiction; and more. For a list of their authors, click here.

A.D. Reed is the founder of Pisgah Press, an independent publishing house serving Western North Carolina writers and book lovers everywhere. Great fiction, serious nonfiction, poetry, and a reference book for writers were among their first books in print. He’ll be selling the new book, Reed’s Homophones, the “handiest reference available on homophones or homonyms—words that sound alike but are spelled differently—as well as words that are often mistyped, misspelled, misused, misunderstood, or that otherwise faze (not phase) writers and confuse readers.” For a full list of authors published by Pisgah Press, click here.

Western Carolina University’s MA in Professional Writing Program is designed for students seeking advanced preparation for entering successful, professional writing careers in fields that regularly recruit new writers, editors, publishing assistants, or promotional talents. A total of thirty-three graduate English credit hours is required: twelve-hour core, nine-hour concentration, and twelve hours in either a thesis or non-thesis option. In addition to the coursework, all MA in English students must successfully pass written comprehensive examinations based on reading lists and content knowledge, which are specific to each concentration. For those writing a thesis, a final oral defense is required. WCU’s MA in Professional Writing Program is the sponsor of the Faculty Readings on Saturday night, which will include a reading by WCU faculty member Jeremy B. Jones.

Wisdom House Books is a publishing hybrid boutique, offering all the advantages of alternative publishing while still maintaining a standard of the highest quality production and design. They make publishing one’s manuscript easy and affordable. Their mission is to produce quality books that make a positive difference in the world. Whether a writer has an inspiring personal story, a spiritual message, a key to better health and well-being, or a new method for financial success, they will personally and professionally guide a book through the publishing process with care and integrity. They provide all the services of a major publisher, but the author retains 100 percent of the royalties and 100 percent of the selling profits. There are no “Publishing Packages” or “Levels” here. They simply offer a list of services to select based on what works best for an author’s goals and budget. For a list of Wisdom House Books authors, click here.

Pre-registration for the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2015 Fall Conference ends Friday, November 13. Register now!

Celebrating Eleanora E. Tate

Eleanora E. Tate is a children’s book author, folklorist, short-story writer, creative writing teacher, and former newspaper reporter. We’re also proud to say she’s a longtime member of the North Carolina Writers’ Network, and a former board member.

During the month of November, Wake County Public Libraries will be celebrating Eleanora’s work through a series of free programs around Raleigh. Happenings include a walking tour of downtown, a library presentation, and a movie screening.

For a complete schedule, click here.

Eleanora was named a 1999 Zora Neale Hurston Award winner (with Dr. John Hope Franklin) by the National Association of Black Storytellers, Inc., of which she is a former national president. She is also a recipient of its Circle of Elders Award.

Her book Celeste’s Harlem Renaissance, the 2007 AAUW North Carolina Book Award Winner in Juvenile Literature, was published in April 2007 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. It was also a 2008 International Reading Association “Teachers’ Choice Award” winner. She is the author of several other award-winning books, including Thank You, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.! and Just an Overnight Guest (Dial, 1980, Just Us Books, 1997), which was made into an award-winning television film in 1983.

Her website is

Wake County Libraries seeks to promote the love of reading and to foster the pursuit of knowledge for the residents of Wake County. They offer services to children; opportunities for recreational reading; strive to be a center of lifelong learning and community center, and hope to bridge the technology gap. For more information visit

Books 50% Off through Bookworm & Silverfish

After nearly forty years of membership in the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America, Bookworm & Silverfish, which specializes in out-of-print books and appraisals, is offering 50% off a large portion of its online inventory.

You can search by author, title, keyword, or even category. There are thousands of rare and antique books on subjects such as North Carolina, the Civil War, classic literature, and cookery. Located in Rural Retreat, VA, Bookworm & Silverfish offers extensive resources on the Southeast.

Visit them online here.

Bookworm and Silverfish is run by Jim Presgraves. For a long time, sales were by private quotation, but in the early 1970s he began offering catalogs. Now nearly 750 catalogs identify his book judgment. Customers include national libraries in both hemispheres as well as many US State libraries and esteemed national collections such as the Smithsonian Institution and the Winterthur Museum. Mr. Presgraves and his staff have nearly forty years experience, and a 4,000-title reference collection to assist those who wish to purchase or to sell books.

Some titles that caught our eye were a six-issue collection of Scribner’s magazine featuring Ernest Hemingway’s Farewell to Arms in serial ($237.50); sheet music for “The Bavarian Girls Song” printed in 1830 ($17.50); and The New River Early Settlement by Patricia G. Johnson, a hard-to-find book relating the history of the world’s second-oldest river ($17.50).

If you’ve got a book-lover on your holiday list, why not buy them something they literally can’t find anywhere else?

Click here to browse their extensive inventory.

Meet Our Fall Conference Exhibitors: Part II

HCWP_logoLast week we introduced several of the literary organizations who will be exhibiting at the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2015 Fall Conference, November 20-22, in Asheville.

Continuing in alphabetical order, here’s Part Two!

Hub City Writers Project has published more than 500 writers through its publishing arm, Hub City Press; serves the city of Spartanburg, SC, as a non-profit independent bookstore, coffee bar, and a bakery, as Hub City Books; and has given away more than $20,000 in scholarships to emerging writers. They run a successful summer writers conference, writing prizes, a national residency program, college scholarships for local teens, donations of thousands of books to local schools, regular creative writing workshops, and dozens of readings annually. Founder John Lane will lead a workshop “Writing Description that Means Something,” while Hub City Executive Director Betsy Teter will serve as a reviewer for Manuscript Mart and sit on Sunday morning’s Brilliant at Breakfast Panel Discussion: “Agents & Editors.”

The Master of Arts in Writing Program at Lenoir-Rhyne University, based in Asheville, is a flexible, interactive program designed with the student in mind. Course offerings include poetry, fiction,creative nonfiction, professional writing, and specialized workshop offerings. Flexible formats for classes offer students the chance to be either fully online, hybrid (partially online, partially in class), in the evening, or on weekends. Traditional and career-track admission gives students more than one way to be admitted. The MA in Writing Program is the sponsor of Friday’s Welcome Reception and the Booksigning following Lee Smith’s Keynote Address on Friday Night. Lenoir-Rhyne’s Director of the Thomas Wolfe Center for Narrative, Laura Hope-Gill, will lead the workshop, “Narrative Medicine: Stories in Clinical Care.”

Al Manning, aka “The Resident Curmudgeon,” is the NCWN regional representative for Chatham and Lee Counties. The regional group, Pittsboro Writers’ Morning Out, meets on the second Saturday of the month at 1:00 pm at the Carolina Brewery, 120 Lowes Dr., in Pittsboro. All writers, any genre are invited. Come early and join them for lunch. There’s usually a special program as well. Al is the sponsor of Saturday night’s Open Mic at the NCWN 2015 Fall Conference (sign up on a first-come, first-served basis at the registration table).

Located in the beautiful Appalachian mountain town of Jefferson, McFarland is a leading independent publisher of academic and nonfiction books. Meeting high library standards has always been a major focus, and many McFarland books have received awards from the library-oriented (Choice Outstanding Academic Title and ALA Outstanding Reference Work) to the specialized (Hugo, Edgar, Stoker, USCF Chess Book of the Year). McFarland is recognized for noteworthy books about pop culture, sports, military, transportation, body and mind, literature, history, and medieval studies, among other topics. They offer 5,100 books in print, nearly 3,000 e-books through online booksellers, operate their own printing facility, and employ fifty-five people.

The mission of the North Carolina Literary Map, established at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro University Libraries, is to highlight the literary heritage of the state by connecting the lives and creative work of authors to real (and imaginary) geographic locations. Through the development of a searchable and browseable data-driven online map, users are able to access a database, learning tools, and cultural resources, to deepen their understanding of specific authors as well as the cultural space that shaped these literary works. The selection criteria of the North Carolina Literary Map are broad and inclusive. The criteria focuses on works written about North Carolina and authors who were born in North Carolina, who currently live or have lived in North Carolina, who have written about North Carolina, or who have made a significant contribution to the North Carolina’s literary landscape. The author must have at least one publication cataloged by the Library of Congress. At this time, the Map includes only works that have a physical equivalent and does not include literary articles, self-publishing houses, works published by vanity presses, or works only available from an individual website.

NCLR-primary logoThe North Carolina Literary Review (NCLR) is published at East Carolina University. Inspired by the North Carolina Literary & Historical Association to be a companion to the North Carolina Historical Review, NCLR publishes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction by and interviews with North Carolina writers, and articles and essays about North Carolina writers, literature, and literary history and culture. A cross between a scholarly journal and a literary magazine, NCLR has won numerous awards and citations, including five from the Council of Editors of Learned Journals: the Best New Journal award in 1994, the Best Journal Design award in 1999 and 2010, the Parnassus Award for Significant Editorial Achievement in 2007, and the Phoenix Award for Significant Editorial Achievement in 2014. The print issue is published annually in the summer. It is available via subscription and in independent bookstores across the state. Since 2012, a separate, open access online issue is released in the winter. NCLR facilitates the North Carolina Writers’ Network annual Doris Betts Fiction Prize.

NC Poetry SocietySince 1932, the North Carolina Poetry Society has existed as an all-volunteer organization especially for poets and friends of poetry. They now have approximately 350 members from North Carolina—and numerous locations beyond. The Poetry Society holds regular meetings three times a year in Southern Pines, at the Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities. The meetings offer a variety of programs, including readings, panels, workshops, and special presentations—all seeking to recognize a diversity of poets. Meetings are free and open to any interested persons. Other programs include annual contests for adults and students; the annual Poet Laureate Award; yearly publication of Pinesong Awards; workshops across the state that offer poets an opportunity to gather for instruction, camaraderie, and networking; and the annual Sam Ragan Poetry Festival, during the month of March.

Pre-registration for the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2015 Fall Conference ends November 13. Register now!

Friday Is Deadline for Discounted Hotel Rate

Biltmore Village Lodge

Thinking of attending the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2015 Fall Conference?

Friday, October 30, is the deadline to book a room at the Biltmore Village Lodge at the discounted conference rate of $95 per night. Guests should call the hotel directly at (828) 277-1800 and mention “NC Writers’ Network” to make reservations. This is the hotel’s website.

Please note: there are only four rooms left in the “NC Writers’ Network” block, so if you haven’t already booked a room, don’t delay!

For a list of other nearby hotels, click here.

The North Carolina Writers’ Network 2015 Fall Conference runs November 20-22 at the Doubletree by Hilton Asheville-Biltmore. The Biltmore Village Lodge is the host hotel’s sister property, located within walking distance—less than 1/4 mile away.

Meet Our Fall Conference Exhibitors: Part I

The North Carolina Writers’ Network 2015 Fall Conference runs November 20-22 in Asheville. Registration is open.

One of the highlights of the weekend is our exhibit hall packed with vendors representing literary organizations from around North Carolina and beyond. We’ll be introducing all the exhibitors in a three-part series of blog posts.

In alphabetical order….

Asheville Poetry Review is an annual literary journal that publishes 180–220 pages of poems, interviews, translations, essays, historical perspectives, and book reviews. Since its inception, Asheville Poetry Review has published over 600 new and established writers from 14 different countries. Founder and Managing Editor Keith Flynn will lead a poetry workshop at Fall Conference, “The Art of Editing Poetry.” He’ll also be joined by his band, The Holy Men, to play the Annual Banquet on Saturday night. APR Senior Editor Luke Hankins will serve as a Poetry Critiquer for the Critique Service, a chance for registrants to schedule a one-on-one, thirty-minute review session that provides writers with in-depth literary critique of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry, by a seasoned writer or editor.

Babington.Co is a communication, design, illustration, and writing company that caters to all of a writer’s design needs. Services include graphic design and production, digital marketing management, hand and digital illustrations and art, written content creation and editing, and book design and illustration specialty.

backbonepresslogopngDurham-based Backbone Press is a small press with a big vision. It’s a venue for ethnic poets, including African-American writers, which has a deep interest in poetry by Latino/a, Asian, and other Ethnicities. The press is also a seeker of poetry that is political, evocative, social, gritty, and also personal and poignant. Their writers include Tara Betts and Tyree Daye.

Hosted in April each year, the Blue Ridge Bookfest offers small group workshops where writers gain knowledge and resources to complement their craft, their efforts towards publication, and book sales. Panel discussions with authors in thematically connected genres and topics offer readers in-depth and behind the scenes participation in the world of books. Workshops, presentations, and the exhibit hall are free to the public. The Eighth Annual Blue Ridge Bookfest happens April 22 & 23, 2016, at Blue Ridge Community College in Flat Rock.

Bull City Press publishes a small quarterly magazine, Inch; poetry chapbooks through the Frost Place Chapbook Fellowship; and the Bull City Poetry Prize series. Established in Durham in 2006, their authors include Ellen C. Bush, Michael McFee, and Anna Ross. The Frost Place Chapbook Competition is open until January 5, 2016. The winner’s chapbook will be published by Bull City Press, and the winner will receive 10 complimentary copies (from a print run of 300), and a $250.00 stipend. The winner will also receive a full fellowship to attend the five-and-a-half-day Poetry Seminar at The Frost Place in August 2016, including room and board (a cash value of approximately $1,500.00), and will give a featured reading from the chapbook at the Seminar.

CarolinaWrenPresCarolina Wren Press is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to publish quality writing, especially by writers historically neglected by mainstream publishing, and to develop diverse and vital audiences through publishing, outreach, and educational programs. This Durham-based publisher hosts the annual Lee Smith Novel Prize. This contest is now open; the deadline is November 30. The winner of the Lee Smith Novel Prize wins $1,000 and publication. CWP authors include Chantel Acevedo, Moira Crone, and North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Jaki Shelton Green.

The Great Smokies Writing Program at the University of North Carolina at Asheville is a joint effort between the UNC-Asheville departments of Literature and Language, Creative Writing and the Asheville Graduate Center. The program offers opportunities for writers of all levels to join a supportive learning community in which their skills and talents can be explored, practiced, and forged under the careful eye of professional writers. Great Smokies Writing Program classes are offered three times a year – fall, spring, and summer – at various locations in the Asheville area. Each course carries academic credit awarded through UNC-Asheville. The GSWP facilitates the annual Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize.

Pre-registration for the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2015 Fall Conference closes Friday, November 13. Register now!

Got a Book Coming Out?

Encore magazine, Wilmington’s alternative weekly, is currently seeking books to review in 2016.

The plan is to pair a new book with an older companion book in each review. Because Encore is a weekly rag, they’re looking for fifty-two books.

The reviewer, friend-of-the Network Gwenyfar Rohler, is interested in reading novels, short-story collections, essay collections, anthologies, memoirs, creative nonfiction, biography, history, and science. (This is not the right venue for poetry.) However, she also writes the book reviews for, Devour, a food magazine. If you have a food related book (narrative or how-to), you might consider sending it to her as well.

Encore regularly covers topics pertaining to news, arts, entertainment, food, and city life in Wilmington. It also maintains schedules and listings of local events like concerts, festivals, live performance art and think-tank events. Print and online editions are updated every Wednesday. Website:

To submit your book for review, send it along to:

Old Books on Front St.
Attn: Gwenyfar
249 N. Front St.
Wilmington, NC 28401